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Background to the study

Poor adherence to prescribed protocols of long term therapies is a pervasive and costly problem in the care of patients with chronic illnesses (Chang, Yeh, Lo & Shih, 2007). Poorer health outcomes and higher healthcare costs result when a patient does not adhere to recommended medication and lifestyle changes such as exercise, smoking cessation or prescribed non pharmacologic interventions such as physical therapy or dietary plans (Eckland 2013)

Chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension and arthritis require daily self management and long term therapies. Diabetes mellitus is a serious chronic condition that is assuming epidemic proportions worldwide, as more than 230 million people are living with diabetes (Silink, 2007). This number is expected to escalate to 350 million (which is about 6.3% of the world population) within 20years (Silink, 2007).

In United States, 800,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed yearly with type 2 diabetes accounting for 90%-95% of the diagnosed cases (Mokdad & Ford, 2008). Chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus contribute to over 70% of the disease burden in Australia and an increase of up to 80% is expected by


2020 while China is having 30 million out of its 1.3 billion population as diabetics. (Oputa & Chinenye, 2012).

The traditional rural communities of Africa still have low prevalence of diabetes of about 1-2% while in urban communities you can have up to 1-13% (Sobngwi, Jarvis, Vexian, Mbanya & Gautier 2007). Nigeria is reported to have up to 7% of its population as diabetics with a prevalence of 7.2% in the urban communities of Lagos Mainland, 4.7% in Lagos island and 6.8% in Port Harcourt (Oputa & Chinenye 2012; Ajibade, Abdullahi & Oyedele 2010).

The American Diabetic Association’s Clinical Practice recommendation for the management of diabetes include tight plasma glucose control of 80-120mg/dl for fasting glucose measurement, eat as recommended for each individual by their dietician, take medication as prescribed, engage in physical exercises, go for checkups and perform other self care activities like foot and eye care. (Silink, 2007).

It has been reported that regimen adherence poses a unique challenge for diabetic children, adolescents and adults and thus will negatively impact on achieving management goals, negates the effectiveness of treatment and results in repeated hospital admissions, amputations and death (Eckland, 2013). Some patients in DAWNS study were found not to adhere to insulin therapy, others modify their regimen in an unprescribed way and some did not monitor their


blood sugar level, did not eat as instructed and did not exercise (Rubin & Peyrot, 2005).

In view of the rate at which diabetes is now increasing, especially in the developing countries and with its short term and long term complications, there is urgent need for diabetic patients to adhere to and maintain their management regimen. This will help to achieve diabetic management goals, retard the progress of diabetic complications and improve their quality of life (Kalyango, Owino &Nambuya, 2008). Non adherence to management regimen should therefore be a concern to all healthcare givers and all factors associated with it should be considered while caring for patients with diabetes.

In Enugu there is paucity of information on non adherence to management regimen among diabetic patients, the extent of the problem and factors that may be contributing to it. This underscores the need to ascertain the prevalence of non adherence to management regimen among adults with type 2 diabetes and to determine the factors associated with it in Enugu. Thus if the magnitude of the problem is ascertained, then appropriate intervention strategies can be initiated.

Statement of the problem

Currently there is no known cure for diabetes but the major element in diabetes care is tight glycaemic control which is achieved by strict adherence to


medication, informed dietary modification, appropriate physical exercise and other instructions (Kalyango et al, 2008;Eckland 2013).

In clinical practice both in developed and developing countries, reports have shown that most of the patients were poorly controlled due to non adherence to regimen (Huther, Wolff & Stange 2013). A non adherence rate of up to 66% in patients with diabetes was reported by John et al (2005) in South South zone of Nigeria while Kalyango et al (2008) recorded 28.9% prevalence rate in Uganda. To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no empirical work was found on non adherence to management regimen among adults with diabetes at University of Nigeria teaching Hospital Enugu as at the time of this study.

However the researcher’s observation as a clinical nurse in medical wards showed that majority of adult patients with diabetes were admitted or re-admitted either in a comatose state or with uncontrolled high glucose levels. The question that stimulated this study is: to what extent could non adherence account for these patients’ conditions. This study has attempted to address this question.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study is to assess the prevalence and associated factors of non adherence to management regimen among adults with


type 2 diabetes at the outpatient clinic of University of Nigeria Teaching

hospital Enugu.

Objectives of the study are:

1.     To determine the prevalence of non adherence to prescribed medication, diet modification, self monitoring of blood glucose level and coming for checkups in adults with type 2 diabetes.

2.     To identify demographic factors associated with non adherence.

3.     To establish psychosocial factors associated with non adherence.

4. To identify health system/regimen related factors associated with non adherence.

Research questions to be addressed are:

1.    What is the prevalence of non adherence to prescribed management regimen among adult patients with type 2 diabetes?

2.    To what extent can the prevalence be explained by the respondents’ demographics.

3.    What psychosocial factors are associated with non adherence.

4.    Are there health system/regimen related factors associated with non adherence.

Significance of the study


Findings from this study will add to the existing knowledge about extent of non adherence to management regimen among diabetic patients. This knowledge will help healthcare givers to think of assessing non adherence when a regimen seems not to be effective thereby enhancing adherence and reduce the rate of developing complications.

Survival skills are essential for patients with diabetes. Findings from this study will give information on factors militating against adherence which the healthcare givers need in order to prioritize education programme in which the patients need to be active participants.

Further research can emanate from this study.

Scope of the study

The study is delimited to non adherence and associated factors among adults with type 2 diabetes attending out patient diabetic clinic at University of Nigeria Teaching hospital Enugu from October to December 2010.

Operational definition of terms

Non adherence is defined as the extent to which a person’s behaviour (in taking medication, following diet, or executing lifestyle changes) coincides with medical or health advice (Kara, Caglar & Kilie, 2007). It includes failure to enter a treatment programme, premature termination of therapy, incomplete


implementation of instructions and non attendance at appointment (Barbin, Grey& Tansella, 2008).

In this study non adherence to the following treatment regimen among type 2 diabetics is defined and assessed in the following ways:

Non adherence to prescribed medication entails an adult with type 2 diabetes not taking up to 80% of the prescribed dose of injection insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHA). This is calculated as:

No of drugs taken X 100

No prescribed

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